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Meet two candidates running for Fremont County Commission

Incumbent Blair Dance, left, is running against David Bloxham for Fremont County Commission District 1 | Courtesy photos
ST. ANTHONY – Fremont County Commissioner Blair Dance is facing an opponent in the Republican primary on May 21.
Dance was first elected to the Fremont County District 1 seat in 2020. He is seeking a second term. His challenger, David Bloxham, is vying for the same position.
EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to both candidates. Each response was required to be 250 words or less. EastIdahoNews.com is publishing the answers without any grammatical or style editing. Some responses were edited for exceeding the word limit.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Dance: Born and raised in Blackfoot, Idaho; Graduated from Blackfoot High School Class of 1970; Graduated from Ricks College 1975 with an Associate Degree in Business Finance;
Married Laurie Jo Nield in 1974; 5 children, 18 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild.
Retired from banking after 27 years; started, built and sold a property management company; owned, managed and sold several rental properties.
Currently serving as Fremont County Commissioner. Public service includes past President of several Chambers of
Commerce and Rotary Clubs in the upper valley.
Bloxham: My wife (Karyn) and I have lived full-time in Island Park for nearly 3 years after buying our first cabin in 2013. We have been married for 47 years with 6 children and 27 grandchildren. I currently serve on the Stonegate HOA advisory board and am the Vice President of the Fugowee Motor Sports Club. Karyn and I are members of the Island Park Historical Society.
This is my first attempt running for an elected public office, but I have a love for the workings of local government.
I was born in Bountiful Utah and moved to Hazelton (between Burley and Twin Falls) when I was 6. I graduated from Valley High School where I grew up on a small farm. I earned a degree in Agri-Business and then worked as general for corporate farms in Idaho, Utah, Washington, California and Maryland.
While doing this I also earned my Masters degree in Agri-Business. In 1994, we purchased 5000 acres on Bell Rapids, a 25,000 acre project above Hagerman. I also started a Farm Management business, managing farms for absentee landowners and a Custom Haying business.
I got bored in retirement and took a job with a company called Agro-K selling foliar fertilizer products to Simplot fertilizer outlets. Two years ago, I started my second retirement.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
Bloxham: I am running for Fremont County Commissioner because I believe that Fremont County has a lot of pending issues rising up in the near future. I want to help be part of the solution to these issues. To find the best possible solution that represents ALL Fremont County using honesty, integrity, being transparent in all dealings and decisions and using common sense. I feel that I have the business background and knowledge to be a benefit to Fremont County residents and to help strategically lead the county as it continues to grow.
Dance: Originally, I was approached to run for a County Commissioner seat that was being vacated due to retirement of the incumbent. Having never run for or served in public office prior, it was time to become a public servant and give back to the communities that have served me so well over the years. I had no agenda for change or ax to grind but just wanted to do the job as best I could.
Currently, I want to continue or complete the work that I have been involved with. That includes Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Sustainability Task Force, the Governor’s Roadless Rule Commission, Eastern Idaho Public Health, East Central Idaho Planning and Development, Head Waters Consolidated Weed and Invasive Species Board, High Country Resource Conservation and Development, serving troubled youth through RACE, Idaho Transportation Dept. (ITD) liaison on local projects and the Teton Dam Failure Commemoration Collaboration.
What areas in your county need immediate improvement? What actions will you take to address those needs?
Dance: A top priority is to establish EMS as an essential service by state statute to ensure its sustainability. By being selected to serve on the EMS Sustainability Task Force we have been able to make significant progress on this goal. I was asked to write and present to the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) a legislative resolution to obtain the full bodies support for legislation necessary to accomplish this designation. I was also asked to participate in a panel discussion in the Capitol to better inform legislators of this need. The resolution was passed unanimously by IAC and the legislation has been passed by the Idaho State Senate.
Bloxham: Areas that need immediate improvement I feel are:

Fremont County Comprehensive Plan – updating the development code, this has been a piecemeal effort for too many years and needs to be done right and done soon.
Solid Waste Regional Facility in Madison county, Fremont county needs to make sure it works for the county and how that will impact IP Landfill usage/costs and hours.
Roads – Addressing U.S. 20 Highway issues from St. Anthony to the Montana line. Also, Yale Kilgore road improvements.
Retention of county employees including law enforcement officials – Fremont County needs to be competitive in salary/compensation package with other counties.
Bear Resistant Container (BCR) – Educate the public, a group of community volunteers have been working with the Fremont County sheriff’s office, Idaho Fish and Game and various organizations to secure grants to raise awareness that IP is bear country. I support their efforts and the efforts of the Sheriff’s office to help make Fremont County safe for property owners, visitors and wildlife

What are the greatest longterm challenges facing people in your county? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
Bloxham: Sustainable growth, Roads / Infrastructure and Fremont County Comprehensive Plan
I will help promote controlled and planned development throughout Fremont County.
The County Commissioners job is to be the executive branch of county government. The commissioners are responsible for county appointments, have administrative authority, oversee all county departments, commissions, boards and committees.
The commissioners are also responsible for the county budget and approving county rules and policies.
If elected, I will work with the different department heads to look at county traffic/road issues and make sure the county Development Code is followed and updated as needed.
I also plan to work with state and federal officials anyway I can to come up with viable solutions to these challenges.
Dance: Further growth in Fremont County, especially the Island Park Caldera, is inevitable. When people start moving to an area business follows, demand for services increases and competing expectations become more evident with resources being strained. As a county, we are working as a team to anticipate such issues and do the ground work
necessary to help address them before hand, if possible, or at least be better prepared when the issues arise.
We are addressing issues of compensation for law enforcement, ensuring EMS sustainability, obtaining grants and other funding to improve and expand the capacity of our municipal liquid waste disposal systems, meeting regularly with ITD discussing current and future needs of the highway 20 corridor; including immediate fixes or improvements to resolve congestion and safety issues, obtaining federal grants for connector road improvements, and providing input to the long term plans of ITD.
Keeping the county’s support equipment current and in good working order is also necessary to prepare for growth. The planning department is actively reviewing, revising and updating the Fremont County Comprehensive Plan and Development Code.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
Dance: Conflicting desires of competing factions of community members can be resolved by respectful conversations, compromise and deliberation. These issues can be brought to an advisory vote so that all members of a community an participate and express their opinion not just the competing factions. There are times when the competing factions of an issue will not communicate respectfully, which is more the norm in todays society than the exception.
In some cases, outside arbitrators may have to be employed to help settle a dispute.
The last option is litigation where the decision is placed in the hands of a judge with his or her own biases that may not reflect the desires of either party.
I believe completely and totally in personal property rights. The problem with property rights is when individual property rights of one come in conflict with the individual property rights of another. So, whose rights then prevail? Each party can state and do state that their rights are superior to the others. So, whose property rights are then
being violated? That is why we have Comprehensive Plans, City areas of impact, Building Codes, Zoning Ordinances to help mediate between the conflicting rights of individual property owners.
Bloxham: My focus as a Fremont County Commissioner will be helping the entire county and supporting local community leaders. My door will be open to listen and have reasonable discussions with any county resident.
What parts of the county budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
Bloxham: If elected, I will represent all of Fremont County, so I will be looking at ways for the county budget to be frugal. As a full-time resident of Island Park, I am aware of the needs in IP and know some of our needs have been ignored. I plan to carefully examine department manager budget proposals and see what areas of Fremont County can receive additional funding or cuts.
Dance: All counties in the State of Idaho are strictly governed by law as to the collection and distribution of tax dollars. As a county our responsibility is to administer the 25 separate taxing districts and distribute, according to law, the funds generated from those taxing districts. Each district has its own tax levy rate that is capped by statute at an annual increase of 3%. The funds generated from that individual levy is the responsibility of the taxing entity and is governed by their own taxing board as to distribution. If there are questions as to the distribution of those tax dollars it would be best to contact the board of the applicable taxing district to get answers. It would also serve well those concerned to research the dollars spent in providing the services that are demanded and inform the respective governing body which services they desire to be reduced.
What is the role of local media in your community? How can county officials work to have a better relationship with the media?
Dance: I believe Fremont County has a good working relationship with the news media that takes the time to cover Fremont County issues. There is open communication between the reporter, the Elected Officials and Department Heads. There are times when some of the Elected Officials look to the media to help sort out the pertinent issues from all the detail. The county is open and responsive to questions by the media representative and the representative actually helps the county by doing research to provide additional information helpful to the discuss at hand.
Bloxham: Fremont County has a weekly newspaper, the Island Park News that does a great job covering Fremont County. Island Park also has a monthly publication, The Caldera Times that also covers Island Park area news. I have worked with both publications. In addition, I appreciate the coverage East Idaho News, the Rexburg Standard- Journal, Idaho Falls Post Register and the local television stations give in covering happenings in Fremont County. I am willing to work with all area news media to help answer questions about Fremont County successes and issues. I believe in being open and transparent.
Voter turnout and participation continues to be low in Idaho. What efforts can be made to stimulate greater voter involvement in elections and government?
Bloxham: I believe that you need to educate the voters on issues and concerns that affect the lives of everyone. The more knowledge and information you can share with your constituents, the more interested and involved they will become. Knowledge is power, and as we work together toward a common goal, listening, respecting and placing value on others opinions, we can make Fremont County an even better place to live.
Dance: Low voter turnout and interest has been, is, and will continue to be a problem, unless there is an issue that is dividing a community. These situations tend to generate more stimulus and interest among the local voters that are or may be affected by the outcome. There is a positive side to low voter turnout that is often overlooked. It is that low voter turnout may be representative of trust and confidence in the current administration and not, necessarily, due to voter apathy or disinterest.
The post Meet two candidates running for Fremont County Commission appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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